Los Angeles, the largest city in the state of California and the second largest city in the United States, is a prominent center of culture, dining, shopping, art, and entertainment. It is an ethnically and culturally diverse city, the home of the UCLA BRUINS!
In this section:
A Golden Weekend in Los Angeles!
Los Angeles offers an eclectic selection of activities from Santa Monica on the Pacific Ocean to Highland Park near downtown, and everywhere in between. UCLA is located right off the 405 and 10 freeways, connecting us to a network of communities brimming with vibrant art, ambiance, culture, and cuisine. During one “golden weekend,” we recently decided to explore LA to show what a group of UCLA Anesthesiology residents can do with their spare time!
We started off our day with French toast, cold brews, and bombolini (light, sugar-dusted Italian doughnuts) at this amazing restaurant.
Barnsdall Art Park and Hollyhock House
Hollyhock House was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1919, and is one of many architectural landmarks in Los Angeles including the Walt Disney Music Hall, designed by Frank Gehry, and remarkable case-study homes designed by eminent architects such as Charles and Ray Eames, and Richard Neutra. We visited during the fall but weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the house, so you will just have to come and see it for yourself. Hollyhock House hosts wine nights during the summer.
Griffith Park Observatory
A beautiful day or night hike with excellent views of downtown LA and the iconic Hollywood sign. There are various stargazing summer events at the observatory; one of the visitor favorites is the Foucault pendulum that demonstrates the Earth’s rotation. Notable movies filmed on site include La La Land and Rebel Without a Cause.
Highland Park has been named as one of the coolest neighborhoods in Los Angeles... and we agree. It has two main thoroughfares: York Boulevard and Figueroa Street. Both streets boast many restaurants, bars and galleries. We started our day off at the Block Party, which serves mixed drinks paired with paletas (aka fresh popsicles). At Hermosillo, we tried local Highland Park Brewery beers. We ate pizza by the slice at Triple Beam Pizza. Be sure to check out Go Get Em Tiger for their homemade macadamia nut/almond milk and cold brew, and Highland Park Bowl for a fantastic bowling night with neighborhood residents.
If you want to see contemporary art so avant-garde that it could make you or your Instagram followers uncomfortable, then the Broad should be in your itinerary! The Broad is a museum that houses the family’s art collection ranging from Jeff Koons to Andy Warhol. Special exhibitions year-round include the Yayoi Kusama infinity room. If you have time, check out Hauser and Wirth, a Swiss contemporary art gallery in the Downtown Arts District, the Marciano Art Foundation in Hancock Park (a repurposed Masonic temple, how cool is that?), or our very own UCLA-affiliated Hammer Museum in Westwood for KCRW Summer Nights.
Grand Central Market
The perfect destination when you can’t agree on what to eat. From vegan ramen to custom-built uncrustable sandwiches, Grand Central Market has an option for everyone. Just ask for your food to go and meet your friends in the beer garden. Walking distance to Angel’s Flight Railway, the Last Bookstore, and the Bradbury Building.
Los Angeles has many comedy clubs, but for improv there is only one place to go and that’s the Upright Citizen Brigade (UCB); definitely worth queuing up at either the Franklin or Sunset locations.
The name says it all! Always important to have dressy attire in your trunk for an impromptu visit to this private club in Hollywood, where reservations and a coat and tie are de rigueur for watching the multiple magicians from the Academy of Magical Arts who perform nightly.
Balconi Coffee Company
Start your day (or night shift) off right with an iced almond essence latte or a flavorful cup of siphon-brewed coffee. Pastries are from Superba in Venice, another great morning destination.
Los Liones Hiking Trail
A relaxing hike with spectacular views! On a clear day, (not on our visit, obviously), you can see Catalina Island. Nearby is Malibu’s Surfrider Beach if you are into surfing, or you can rent bikes and ride along the beach. Another activity UCLA residents often enjoy is paddleboard yoga in Marina Del Rey.
First seeing the beach from a distance; now sitting by the ocean with delicious, healthy Los Angeles-style cuisine such as cauliflower or zucchini crust pizza in hand, we are doing Sunday right.
There is nothing like hearing the waves crash against the rocks while reading Morgan and Mikhail. This one’s for you, Dr. Turner!
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows Liam’s name (sung to the Cheers theme song). The frozen painkiller pairs well with the happy hour tacos.
Abbot Kinney Boulevard
The quintessential eccentric West Coast surfer hipster/hippie scene. One of the restaurant highlights is Gjelina, a Venice classic; get all their seasonal vegetable items and any of their pizzas.
Salt and Straw
Enjoy a cup of exotic and satisfying flavors from this West Coast gourmet creamery in the heart of Abbot Kinney. Be sure to sample everything that sounds good! If you are an ice cream fanatic, we would also recommend trying Wanderlust on Lincoln Blvd, just a five-minute drive away.
Townhouse and the Del Monte Speakeasy
Part speakeasy, part dance party in Venice. Grab a cocktail downstairs and enjoy some live jazz, and go upstairs when you want to hear some 90s hip hop.
High Rooftop Lounge
A great place to hang with friends and see the sunset. The rooftop game is strong in LA with beautiful views of the ocean on the westside and city views in downtown.